The revolving door at EA: Enter John Schappert, exit John Pleasants


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John Schappert returns to EA. Credit: Microsoft.

Electronic Arts Inc. announced it has recruited former EA executive John Schappert back from Microsoft Corp., where he was corporate vice president of interactive entertainment in the company’s Xbox business. Schappert will resume his old title as EA’s chief operating officer.

At the same time, EA’s current chief operating officer, John Pleasants, announced he is leaving to become chief executive of Playdom Inc., a San Francisco developer of casual games played on social networks such as MySpace. Pleasants, who spent the bulk of his career running online properties such as and Ticketmaster, was hired at EA in March 2008 to help form the game publisher’s online strategy.


For Schappert, the move is a homecoming of sorts. Before he joined Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft in 2007, he was EA’s COO of worldwide studios, managing 5,000 developers. Schappert is best known for founding Tiburon Studios in 1994 at the age of 20. In 1998, EA bought Tiburon, which develops the company’s hugely profitable Madden football games.

Jeff Brown, a spokesman for the Redwood City, Calif., company, said EA’s decision to bring Schappert back occurred before Pleasants took the Playdom gig.

‘We think John Schappert is a superstar, and we’re ecstatic to have him back,’ Brown said.

-- Alex Pham